A World War II recruiting poster for SPARs, the Women’s Reserve branch of the U.S. Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard image.

The Long Blue Line: SPARs – female trailblazers of the Coast Guard

By the end of World War II, nearly 12,000 SPARs had served in the Coast Guard. They pioneered the role of their gender in the service, the federal government and the nation as a whole. They have since helped shape the Coast Guard into a better institution for all men and women and continue to do so today.


Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: SPAR and Auxiliarist Dorothy Kurtz

The Coast Guard remembers and honors the memory and legacy of one of our trailblazers – Coast Guard SPAR and Auxiliarist Dorothy Kurtz. After serving her country during WWII, Kurtz decided to continue her service to her nation as a volunteer in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. She passed away Sept. 12, 2016, at the age of 93. Fair winds and following seas, shipmate.


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Coast Guard charted the Northwest Passage in 1957 and continues to play a lead role in the Arctic today

In July of 1957, the Coast Guard was tasked with establishing and charting a successful path through the Northwest Passage in response to defense concerns caused by Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union. In October, 1957, three Coast Guard cutters accomplished what no other U.S. vessels had done before — they transited through the icy seas of the Northwest Passage and circumnavigate the North American continent. Read the full story to learn more!


The TOP SECRET story of Coast Guard code breaking

From its beginning as the Revenue Cutter Service in 1790, the Coast Guard’s unique authorities and organizational culture of adaptability have allowed it to make great contributions to intelligence and to important military successes in our nation’s history.


1st African-American female Coast Guardsman honored

The Long Blue Line: Olivia Hooker – Minority Trailblazer and Community Leader

Despite experiencing hatred and racism in her youth, Dr. Olivia Hooker has dedicated her life to serving the needs of her community and her nation, living by her life philosophy, “it’s not about you or me; it’s about what we can give to this world.” Now, at the age of 101, Hooker remains an important member of the long blue line and an example of the Coast Guard’s core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty.


The Long Blue Line: SN1 Florence Finch

The Long Blue Line: SN1 Florence Finch

Of the thousands of women who have served with honor in the United States Coast Guard, one stands out for her bravery and devotion to duty: Florence Smith Finch.


Honoring living history

Honoring living history

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft dedicated a training center within Coast Guard Headquarters in honor of Dr. Olivia Hooker, the first African-American woman in the Coast Guard.


Olivia Hooker recalled her experiences as one of the first African American female members in the Coast Guard SPAR program during World War II. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

A national treasure

On Nov. 23, 1942, legislation approved the implementation of the United States Coast Guard Women’s Reserve. The women who joined were more commonly known as SPARs – an acronym derived from the Coast Guard’s motto, ‘Semper Paratus, Always Ready’ – and formed the foundation for women serving today. On March 9, 1945, Olivia Hooker headed to boot camp. While women had been heading enlisting for months by then, one thing was unique about Hooker – she was one of only five African American females to first enlist in the SPAR program.


Olivia Hooker

Olivia Hooker: A SPAR’s Story

On Nov. 23, 1942, legislation approved the implementation of the United States Coast Guard Women’s Reserve; the program known as SPAR – the acronym derived from the translations of the Coast Guard’s motto, ‘Semper Paratus, Always Ready’ – became the foundation for women in the Coast Guard today.


Doritha Dogulas

Shipmate of the Week – Lt. j.g. Doritha Douglas

On this day in 1942, legislation approved the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve to help fill jobs and free men to serve during the war effort. Women from all over the country took the oath, attended training, wore the uniform and served in shoreside positions throughout the nation. They were known as the SPARs – Semper Paratus, Always Ready! On Nov. 9, former SPAR and Coast Guard veteran Lt. j.g. Doritha Douglas was interviewed about her decision to join the SPARs and the experiences she had. Douglas is one of the oldest surviving members of the SPARs.


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